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Hell is other people. So's Facebook.

News to no one: moods can be exhausting. I've been in a lousy mood all way, which I'm now trying to mitigate with sitting at home, warming up, petting the pets that let me pet them, and planning for an early night to bed.

Literally the FIRST thing I saw online this morning was a Facebook post by someone I'd recently started following...and the post not only included the video of an LAPD cop fatally shooting a man who was homeless, but also included this poster's belief that THIS IS THE WAY TO DEAL WITH THE HOMELESS. (Paraphrased in the post: "L.A. Skid Row is dangerous." Actually said in the post: "Kill 'em all, let the coroner sort it out.")

If the person posting had been joking, that would've been horrible enough. The post was serious. OK, you're a sociopath. I'm not going to follow you. I've had a smidgen of experience with sociopaths. I want not to have more.

Meanwhile, dammit, I wasn't able to shake the mood all day. The poster's mood? PROBABLY FINE, which is one reason it sometimes really sucks to be empathetic. Here's where my thoughts went during my morning commute: Sometimes, empathy is when Person A stabs Person B and Person C also feels as if their guts got gutted. Does empathy stop the knife? Does it make Person A not stab anyone in the first place? Does it protect Person B? I felt mad, and impotent. And I didn't like where my thoughts had gone. You cannot convince me that it's better not to feel empathy. Sometimes empathy sucks, but I far prefer it to the alternatives.

I see a lot of pretend empathy on Facebook. I see platitudes masquerading as empathy. I see a lot of self-serving, self-satisfying, self-aggrandizing use of Facebook: hey! Look how cool I am! I see it used almost thoughtlessly: example, see a photo, link it, add a comment. Post something you don't realize is untrue, watch it race around the world (doesn't it seem to happen that way?), act put out if someone says "that's not actually true." And so on.

Is posting on Facebook like being drunk? It seems to emphasize however you are, at that time or all the time. You reveal a lot about yourself, maybe -- no, likely -- more than you realize. I reveal lots about myself through blogging, which I've done for 10 years; I'm careful about it, but I know revelation's a byproduct. I want to show a good side. I also want to strengthen my good side.

I was a moody jackass today. Which hurts myself and would have bothered other people if I'd taken it out on them. NOT my good side, that. It took a lot of energy not to take out that mood on co-workers. I'm low on that energy. Good thing I'm at a place where I can recover.

Meanwhile, maybe me using Facebook less is a really good idea.

Can I do that?


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Mar. 4th, 2015 05:22 pm (UTC)
I like your analogy to drunkenness. Sometimes I think I've gotten to know the people I know on a deeper level by seeing what occupies them on a daily basis and what they find appropriate as a matter of public discourse. Sometimes I find that the people I thought I liked are shallow, aggressive, and reactionary.

And yes, if you draw attention to falsehoods or logical fallacies, you somehow end up the villain, so I have a firm non-intervention policy in social media.

The other day I saw a post on Facebook linking to an article about a man who died falling in front of a subway train. The poster, who is very vocal about her pet humanitarian causes and other perceived injustices, included a snarky comment about how that particular train line hasn't run regularly in months. I... don't even know what to do with that.

Last week I saw a post comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. When another user mentioned that she found it offensive, the OP and his friends dogpiled her with false equivalencies, doubled down on the analogies to the Third Reich, and condescendingly implied she simply hadn't thoroughly considered her opinion. All she had said was that the comparisons to Nazi Germany offended her.

But I've only ever actually unfriended one person, and believe it or not, it wasn't because he mansplained the three branches of the federal government to me (I wrote my Master's thesis on the development of constitutional federalism), but because after a lively discussion on his page over the efficacy of the Occupy Wall Street movement in which he bragged loudly and often about his tolerance for opposing viewpoints in an informed debate, I saw a comment in which he referred to the dissenters as a "shitstorm of dumb."

I never thought of myself as cynical or bitter, and I still don't, but I find that the more I learn about people, the fewer of them I genuinely admire. Facebook really brings it out in them, too.

I guess I've ranted a bit, but I really identified with your post. Maybe I should take some time off from FB, too.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Whale fluke
Chris Walsh

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